Spirilis' guide on impostering

Written native in HTML form, guide authored with Geocities chats in mind.

The imposter, and how he/she does it.

Typically an imposter might be someone who wants to clone or act as someone else for a certain reason, whether it be intentionally or just to cause annoyance. My personal dealings with imposters seem to have lead me to think of imposters as people who do not care nor think about the annoyance caused by their actions, but do it to:

I have seen several methods of deterring imposters which have both worked and not have worked in different situations. One method I have seen to deter petty-imposters who only want to cause a little trouble is to talk to them like you know who they are and are out to get them... Such as scaring them by saying you have their IP address or know what ISP they are using and their ISP username... or that you are going to hack them. That may scare only some smalltime imposters, but fanatics who enjoy impostering and have been around for quite a bit typically do not fall for that...

People who are trying to attain a task might be somebody who is trying to cause malicious publicity for the person who is impostered or may be somebody who is fanatic about causing a certain social condition to occur with the person being impostered, in the case of somebody trying to ruin a cyber-relationship or somebody who wants something to happen to this person.

There no doubt exists other reasons for impostering which I either would not know of or do not have the time to explain.

How to spot imposters in the GeoChats

Imposters doing their work inside the GeoCities chats probably wish I was dead if they knew about this guide because I've seen almost every method of impostering in the GeoChats that you could think of.

The double-space method

Here is a method of impostering that is quite obvious to notice, but not
obvious enough to the absent-minded or the computer illiterate

Let's say we have somebody in SiliconValley chat named "Curator Freek"
Now, if I were an imposter, how would I use the double-space method to
imposter Curator Freek if he was already inside the chat under his normal

Here is how:

Assuming Curator Freek was under the name "Curator Freek" with
only one space between "Curator" and "Freek", here is how I would go about
cloning him:

I would enter as "Curator  Freek"

NOTE WELL that I used TWO spaces between Curator and Freek versus the one
space that the real Curator Freek used in his own name

The Chat Server denotes that there is a difference between
"Curator Freek" and "Curator  Freek" and treats the names
as such - they appear as different names, yet because of the only difference
being in having two spaces instead of one, the difference is not easily noticed.
That is mainly because in the GeoCities chats under Netscape Navigator and
Microsoft Internet Explorer, and other graphical browsers, the names and words
appear in "Proportionally spaced" fonts - meaning each character is of different
width. Most often in proportionally spaced fonts, a space isn't very wide,
ergo it is rather difficult to notice the difference between one space
and two. In monospaced font, as I use in Lynx, the difference is easily
noticed if you really are looking.

Try hard to get used to the spacing of the font you are using so that you may
notice these differences more accurately.

The altered-character method

This method is quite dumb, and whoever uses it is a real lamer... it is still
yet not noticed by some who have either been watching a computer terminal
all day, someone who is sleepy, or someone who doesn't have the time to watch
small details in the text they are reading.

In the case of the name "Curator Freek", I might imposter that name by
entering as "Curator Freak" - changing the second 'e' in "Freek" to an 'a'

Since Freak is a real word and "Freek" is more poetic, many people will glide
over that difference when they look at the name. Note the chat server compares
the names byte-by-byte, so the chat server knows there is a difference.

This method of impostering is more way-duh, and usually self-explanatory.

The 8-bit space

Anyone who has programmed has no doubt heard of or worked with the term
ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange

ASCII is a standard character set which governs what the characters from
0 to 127 are, including alphanumeric and American-English puncuation characters.
However, in one byte there are 8 bits, so one byte can hold more than 128
characters as ASCII represents... one byte physically can hold 256 characters,
twice as many as the ASCII standard dictates. The upper 128 characters, which
are physically nothing more than the numbers 128 to 255 (8th bit set), are
governed by many sorts of character sets, such as the ISO Latin 1 and Latin 2
character sets, which include characters from 128 to 255 that correspond to
extra puncuation used in Western and Eastern european languages. Also you have
Cyrillic, which gives characters 128 to 255 Russian letters and symbols.

However, in almost all character sets which govern characters 128 to 255,
character 160 is always a space. A regular space in ASCII is character #32.
If you turned 32 into a binary number, and 160 into a binary number, you will
see that 160 is nothing more than 32 with the 8th bit set, or 128 + 32.
Since character 160 appears just like a space, it is literally unnoticed
by computer-illiterate people or even computer literate people who see it.
However, the chat server, being still buggy and quite stupid in some senses,
notices a numeric difference between 32 and 160, and treates them as such.

So "Curator Freek" with the space between Curator and Freek being
character #32 will be treated separate from "Curator Freek" which
uses character #160 as the space. Another HTML way of denoting character 160
without using the ALT-(keypad)160 combination is to use " " in place
of it, so to get "Curator Freek" with the space as character 160, I would
merely use "Curator Freek", and the chat server will make " "
into a space of character 160.

That will appear in the chat menu as this:

If you examine the HTML code to this document, you will see that the first Curator Freek is the one with the space as ASCII character 32, and the second is the one with the   or character 160 in it. Since 160 is greater than 32, the chat server, when it sorts out the names, treats the Curator Freek with the character 160 in the name as below the one with character 32 as the space. So if you see two versions of a name in the Geochats, and you are going to boot the imposter, boot the one on the bottom, since it will be the one using the character 160 hack.

That's all for now!

I will document and add more methods of impostering as I think of them, so stay tuned :-)

Spirilis' guide on impostering